Lufthansa, Swiss see more Aussie flyers via Singapore, Hong Kong

Lufthansa, Swiss see more Aussie flyers via Singapore, Hong Kong

Lufthansa and Swiss expect to fly more Australians to Europe via Singapore and Hong Kong this year on the back of new Boeing 777 services and a joint venture with Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines.

The two airlines already count Australia as the largest market to which they don't actually fly.

"Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok are all major gateways for Australian travellers" confirms Heiko Brix, Lufthansa Group Regional Director for Southeast Asia.

"You leave Australia in the afternoon and the overnight flight (from Asia) is very convenient without losing time," Brix says.

"You go to sleep in a fully flat bed and you arrive in the morning able to get straight to work or you have (connections to) all of Europe in front of you."

Lufthansa's fully-flat business class flies from Singapore and Hong Kong

Brix intends to grow the local market even further from July 1 when the joint venture between Lufthansa/Swiss and Singapore Airlines takes wing, pending Government approvals.

"We will be improving customer choice and customers will benefit from the increased opportunities in the network," Brix says of the alliance, which is expected to see more of a spread in flight schedules between the three airlines to provide the flexibility which business travellers value.

Read: Singapore Airlines to tempt Aussies with joint Lufthansa, Swiss flights

Singapore remains the sweet spot

The move will also bolster Singapore's status as the major Australian feed for Lufthansa and Swiss.

"Singapore is our most popular hub for Australians" shares Lufthansa Group Country Manager Anil Rodricks, "and Hong Kong comes a close second."

Rodricks reports that "about 70-75%" of those travellers are in transit, with the remainder breaking their trip with a stop-over of one or more nights.

"Singapore and Hong Kong are hugely popular in their own right and are also regional headquarters for a number of Australian companies," which sees some travellers book to fly out through one city and back in via another.

Source: AusBT reader poll, 2015
AusBT readers favour Singapore and Hong Kong as their stopover cities of choice
Source: AusBT reader poll, 2015

The debut of Swiss' Boeing 777-300ER on the Hong Kong-Zurich route from April 11 will increase capacity out of Hong Kong "and give us a lot more commercial opportunity," Rodricks says, adding that "we partner with both Cathay Pacific and Qantas to Hong Kong."

Singapore is also in line to see the Boeing 777-300ER suggests Aditya Khullar, Swiss' Head of Southeast Asia & Pacific.

"It's on the map, we're pushing hard for it and head office is looking at it as well" Khullar says. "I would say it's our next destination in Asia for the Boeing 777."

Settle into Swiss' Boeing 777-300ER business class between Hong Kong and Zurich

Photos: Inside the swish new Swiss Boeing 777-300ER

Austrian Airlines heads for HK

Lufthansa's 'multi-gateway' strategy will receive another boost when sibling Austrian Airlines starts flying between Vienna and Hong Kong from September 5.

The airline estimates that two-thirds of passengers will make connections from Vienna, "especially in the direction of Western and Eastern Europe."

"This is a great way to consolidate our position in Hong Kong" Rodricks suggests, "with overnights covered by two Lufthansa flights and one Swiss flight, and the new Austrian flight departing Hong Kong at 9.40am."

Finnair also counts Singapore and Hong Kong as vital funnels for Australian flyers, reflecting a continued preference by Australian business travellers to transit via those cities.

"Hong Kong to Helsinki is just 11 hours' flying time, and 9½ hours on the way back, although a lot off people are under the misconception that it's a lot further," says Geoff Stone, Finnair country manager for Australia and New Zealand.

"And Sydney to Hong Kong is just over eight hours, so I always like going (to Europe) via Hong Kong. It's like a nice halfway point with a somewhat shorter flight (to Hong Kong) and then a slightly longer flight."

Read more: Finnair brings Airbus A350 to Hong Kong, Singapore

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT 

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • Ryan Stephen


    16 Mar, 2016 06:25 pm

    Let's hope one day these carriers could fly to Australia!

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  • FLX


    16 Mar, 2016 08:06 pm

    Not happening as long as:

    1. LH Group is in *A.

    2. Alliance global network op model is in vogue.

    3. For such long flights(e.g. EU-Australia), cheaper for partner to do part of the lifting than to do it all by yourself.

    If U recall, LH abandoned its own ops to SYD roughly around the time when *A and the global alliance op model started to gain serious traction in the industry.... 

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  • Mark


    16 Mar, 2016 07:06 pm

    AJ and Qantas please take note, we are not that keen on the Middle East and Dubai. Please give us options!!

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  • FLX


    16 Mar, 2016 07:53 pm

    <<AJ and Qantas please take note, we are not that keen on the Middle East and Dubai.>>

    And U seriously think that after betting heavily on the QF+EK JV and the DXB hub, AJ will just abandon all that(Or start something else likely less profitable to cannibalize biz away fm the JV) in order to <<take note>> from U or me or anyone else?

    <<Please give us options...>>

    Why ask AJ or QF to give us travel routing options like a teenager asking his parents to give more cable TV options @ home?  Unless U're tied by a financial chain, just move out and buy whatever cable subscription U desire.

    Similarly, unless U are hopelessly tied to QF's FFP, plenty of route options(Frankly, the mkt is flooded with options these days) exist for decades so why wait for QF to provide them?

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  • David Flynn


    16 Mar, 2016 08:01 pm

    FLX, feel free to use the formatting toolbar atop the comments window (or the standard keyboard shortcut) to format quotes from an arricle or previous post as italics instead of using those ugly << and >> marks. :)

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  • Mark


    16 Mar, 2016 09:15 pm

    The point I was trying to make is the people would like to fly to Europe with QF, but prefer Singapore and HK over Dubai which is clearly shown in AUSBT's survey. I like to support my national carrier, but don't like or agree with there choice of stopover so options via Asia would be good. You don't have to like or agree with my comment.

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  • bob342


    17 Mar, 2016 06:41 am

    I voted with my wallet and stopped from QF to Europe some time ago.  Clearly not enough people have done the same as nothing's changed!

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  • ny152


    16 Mar, 2016 09:11 pm

    Agreed!  I prefer to stay on QF metal and with 4 flights/year LHR to Aus I'm bored to tears of Dubai!

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  • Mark


    16 Mar, 2016 11:15 pm

    The airport lacks soul. Just a boring place with no atmosphere. I agree I am in no hurry to rush back.

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  • FLX


    16 Mar, 2016 07:32 pm

    The part of the interview with LH Group which I'm surprised to find out and totally don't get is <<we partner with both Cathay Pacific and Qantas to Hong Kong.>>:

    1.  Everything in LH Group is under *A while everything under CX Group or QF Group is under OW.  To the best of my knowledge, the global war between *A and OW these days is no less fierce than WWII fought between the Axis and the Allies.  There's absolutely no obligation nor strategic consideration fm the alliance perspective for such partnerships to exist.

    2.  For QF+LH Group in HKG, I can understand a partnership may offer some mutual benefits re AU-EU traffic connecting @ HKG.  However, even that is a stretch because such partnership is effectively competing against the QF+EK JV via DXB already serving the same purpose for QF with 1 crucial diff: QF+EK is a Rev$-sharing JV while the QF+LH Group partnership is not a JV...let alone Rev$- sharing/fares coordination.

    3.  The CX+LH Group partnership in HKG makes even less commercial sense.  For AU-EU traffic via HKG, LH Group needs CX but CX simply doesn't need LH Group.  CX can carry such traffic all the way on CX metals between AU and EU.  What is the benefit for CX to share some of that traffic with LH or LX(Soon OS too) given that CX already planned to serve more Tier2 EU cities in the near future?

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  • Rufus1


    16 Mar, 2016 09:45 pm

    Regardless of your careful analysis, if you get on the LH website, you're just as likely to see them selling you a business class ticket from FRA to Oz, connecting to QF in SIN or HKG as you are to see them putting you on to a *A carrier.

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  • FLX


    18 Mar, 2016 08:55 pm

    I'm glad U raised this point.  Yes, U can buy a QF flight in J(In fact, all classes) on LH website as long as it's connecting with another LH flight.  This is not an uncommon sales practice by airlines crossing the alliance boundary.

    However, hv U also noticed that for a FRA to Oz flight, *A carriers on that route always seem to hv a higher display priority by default(i.e. before a visitor plays with flight options sorting) among all options on the LH website?  Most importantly, the lowest available fare appear much more often for the option with SQ(LH and SQ has a JV) than for the option with QF(Almost always shown in normal fare code) across a range of departure dates?

    2 brands of peanut butter on display in an aisle inside a supermkt.  Brand X is positioned @ the front of the aisle along with sharp signage saying price is 30% off during promo period.  Brand X is a JV partner of this supermkt chain.  Meanwhile Brand Y is placed far back @ the end of the aisle with its price sticker unchanged for mths.  At the cashier, do U think Brand X or Brand Y will pop-up more often even though this supermkt, in theory, welcomes a shopper to select either?

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  • Saltwaer


    17 Mar, 2016 12:11 am

    Maybe slightly off topic, but given the popularity of Singapore as a stopover destination, looking ahead ten years when Changi has four runways plus terminal five up and running, would Qantas look to setup much more of a base?  

    Building on the existing model where Qantas & Jetstar fly to Changi from a number of Australian cities, and some of those passengers then connect through to Penang, Bangkok, Phuket etc on Jetstar Asia, would they look at a model where say a single daily Qantas flight SIN -> LHR was reinstated?  This would give passengers a choice of stopover destinations, and I'd say would be extremely popular.

    Note: I'm an unbiased Australian living in Singapore!

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  • Serg


    17 Mar, 2016 08:44 am

    Qantas does not listen. And I will not use QF en route to Europe as long as they fly via Dubai.

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  • lind26


    17 Mar, 2016 10:30 pm

    I'm just waiting for the day when QF funnel both MEL and SYD flights  to Dubai onto a single flight to London

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  • Serg


    18 Mar, 2016 08:16 am

    IMHO it just a matter of time.

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  • FLX


    18 Mar, 2016 08:24 pm

    It certainly does more reading than listening when it comes to selecting & continuously committing to its location decision re where to connect traffic:

    Less listening to travellers whom prefer SIN/BKK/HKG where  QF tried before.

    More reading into the actual pax load data & op cost trend analysis comparison pre-DXB vs post-DXB.

    As per QF's financial performance on European routes since trading SIN/BKK/HKG for DXB, reading seems to hv worked out much better for QF than listening.....

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  • Serg


    18 Mar, 2016 08:50 pm

    First of all I am not interested in their bottom numbers whatsoever – I am interested to fly where I like to fly instead of where I force to fly.

    And secondly their profit based on falling of oil prices and reduction of routes (and therefore planes). May be partially on fact that Qantas more and more became Emirates ticket agent instead of being great airline as it was once upon time.

    Does not matter what – people voting with their wallets and finding other alternatives. In the past Qantas was flying multiply routes in Europe – via Singapore, via Hong Kong to London and Frankfurt. Now we have only two planes and I bet soon will be just one.

    They better listen otherwise they generate good margin in percentage, but in absolute figures it will be just enough for AJ pay off.

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  • Serg


    18 Mar, 2016 08:53 pm

    And if I so keen about Dubai I always can buy Emirates directly and it usually cheaper.

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  • FLX


    18 Mar, 2016 11:46 pm

    You are 'not interested in their bottom numbers' yet you seems to be interested in their connection strategy(or rather a change of strategy to the old/your preferred way).  But last time I heard, network connection strategy has everything to do with 'bottom numbers'.  Instead of keep wondering why QF do not listen to travellers' preference but ignore their financials @ the same time, I've been trying to understand the underlying facts & reasons why they don't & won't listen and continued their current path.  I mean it surely couldn't be just AJ inherently luv to piss off travellers and bring down QF with him(By all accounts, he did just the opposite over the past few difficult yrs) in the process....

    '...instead of where I force to fly.''

    It's unfortunate to be trapped in such situation of being forced to fly with a carrier.  May I know where is THE force come from or in what form?  I'm really curious.

    Usually when I(Or my friends, family or colleagues) sense just a tiny winny bit of force being exerted upon me to choose carrier X  or its routing which I don't like, I just instantly buy another option...possibly with carrier Y.  Problem solved and carrier X won't even know I don't like it or its's the job of carrier X, not mine, to find out from mountains of mkt data to see if enough folks acted like I did or did the opposite(i.e. many more has chosen carrier X or its routing than those who didn't).

    'their profit based on falling of oil prices' only partially explain QF's overall performance recovery as stated on their financial public records.  Besides, all airlines benefit fm low oil prices but QF still outperformed its peers(Most notably SQ) financially in the same period.  Why?

    'reduction of routes' is a big contributor to QF's recovery.  Historically in this industry worldwide, airlines often hv to shrink/rationalize 1st in order to grow/become sustainable again.

    '...Qantas more and more became Emirates ticket agent'

    And what exactly is wrong with that for part of your network in which your op is inherently much weaker/less profitable than your partner's op?  Over the past 20yrs, how many JL ticket holders were actually carried by QF metals instead of JL metals on Japan-AU routes?  How many AA ticket holders were actually carried by QF metals instead of AA metals across the Pacific?  In biz, what's wrong with focusing on where U're strong(e.g. QF lately has been doing exactly that across the Pcf) and leaning on your partner where U're weak?  It's a win-win and precisely the genesis for all alliances or JVs.

    'instead of being great airline as it was once upon time'.

    I'm always amused by such comments...almost like a tale/folklore.  They referred to the apparent greatness /superficial success via an op model used by QF in a very very distant past.  It was an era when:

    1. EK and an array of int'l competitors equal to or stronger than QF today didn't existed.

     2. QF was @ least partially gov't owned, subsidized, supported, protected(Otherwise, why Ansett's int'l network remained so tiny for yrs?), etc. until 97.  It simply didn't hv to worry much about 'bottom numbers' just like U(i.e. travelers) and could select connecting points and where to fly according to pax preferrence or tech limitations in that era.

    Unfortunately, the mkt has moved on and a few decades is an eternity in this industry.   No way QF's old model would survive today.

    An honest question I present(Not meant to be judgemental at all): Do folks prefer A or B?

    A) A superficially strong QF with the red kangaroo tails popping up in all major EU cities plus hubbing in SIN/BKK/HKG preferred by travelers but bleed like hell financially and @ risk to seek tax payer support.

    B) A QF with a superficially tiny Euro op footprint where the red kangaroo tail only show up in LHR plus focusing all its European fleet power only in DXB hub hated by travellers but achieve rock solid financial/investment status yr after yr which easily enable funding for product/fleet upgrade.

    'people voting with their wallets and finding other alternatives'

    Absolutely the principle I adhere to and that's why I'm so curious  about the force in 'where I force to fly' U mentioned.

    On the other hand, the inconvenient truth here is op+financial data suggest QF traffic didn't dropped post-DXB and more & more people voting with their wallets to stick with QF+DXB hub instead of choosing other alternatives.

    '...Qantas was flying multiply routes in Europe - via Singapore'

    U mean the home of 1 of QF's most powerful enemy and where QF has no real local friend?  Yes, a perfect location to clash with that titan and got plenty of financial bruises in the process in order to divert precious QF resources fm where they were truly needed(e.g. Trans-Pcf) and out of enemy range....  Travelers had been cheering for that spectacle for over 2 decades.

    'via Hong Kong'

    Despite nominally in the same brotherhood, CX and QF basically wanted each other wounded if not dead in HKG.  And unlike in SIN where the local authority @ least pretend to be a friend and welcome QF investment to build its hub+JetStar, CX and HKG authority are aligned to ensure QF Group hv no room to grow connecting feeds @ HKG.  Result? HKG-LHR didn't last  long at all despite QF traveller's preference.

    'they generate good margin, but in absolute figures....just enough for...'

    Data per QF financials reported robust growth in %, in AUD absolute figures and most importantly in topline Rev$ +pax traffic count.

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  • Serg


    19 Mar, 2016 09:35 am

    Too much writing to answer point by point, so just thesis:

    1. I like to support national carrier, so all equal I will choose Qantas even if it 10% dearer. So I unhappy that I cannot do so en route to Europe.
    2. I prefer by huge margin when Qantas was state company and I am old enough to remember those times and to be able to compare. Then “supporting Qantas” was making far more sense then now and even term “national carrier” now somewhat misleading.
    3. I would not fly via Dubai regardless of price. Well, to be honest if it 4 times less I probably reconsider.
    4. I utterly hate relationship between Qantas and Emirates because I strongly believe that relationship is one-way.

    I love fly via Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok) and I will continue to do so.

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  • Chris Chamberlin


    19 Mar, 2016 12:24 pm

    Guys, let's swing this discussion back on-topic. The topic is Lufthansa and Swiss flying through Asia, not Qantas' financials or profit strategy.

    When commenting on an article, ask yourself, "Is my comment directly relevant to the article subject?" If yes, type away! If not, you're welcome to discuss the topic in our Q&A section instead.

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  • Bill Gillespie

    World traveler

    18 Mar, 2016 01:34 pm

    With Singapore making a stop in CBR, there is a whole new market opening up.

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  • petercr


    18 Mar, 2016 03:27 pm

    Interesting as the better half and I are doing a Scenic Tours trip next year where we start in Amsterdam and finish in Switzerland... Looks like another 2 potential carriers to add into the mix...

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  • FLX


    19 Mar, 2016 12:00 am

    Check the actual fares being offered for the LX+QF combo  or the LH+QF combo and don't be surprised to return to the reality of lower fares offered by alliance /JV options(e.g. LH+SQ, QF+EK).

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20 Jul, 2019 02:59 am


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